Category Archives: Movies

Movie Review: Magic Mike (The Power of The Pectoral)

Movie Review: Magic Mike (The Power of The Pectoral)

I am your patron saint of protection from horrible pop culture. Bow before me.

The number of crappy books and shitty movies I will put myself through just so you don’t have to! You should all buy me a trophy or a medal or a new blender.

Once again, the mighty power of the horny middle-aged woman has reared her shiny, dyed head. They could rule the world if they took a break from the bodice-rippers and put down their Chardonnay long enough to join forces.

Several of these horny middle-aged women (herein referred to as HMAW) happen to be friends of mine and wanted me to join them to see Magic Mike. You know, the one about the best friends just working for a living in a skanky male strip club. Kind of like a nasty Laverne and Shirley.

HMAW: “But, Roger Ebert gave it two thumbs up!”

Me: “Didn’t he have a stroke or something?”

HMAW: “And, it’s directed by Steven Soderbergh. He did Traffic and is an Oscar-winner!”

Me: “Does he have kids in private school then? Why would he do a movie about strippers?”

HMAW: “Really, Irene, why wouldn’t you want to watch hot, naked men? The question is what is wrong with you?”

Me: <long pause> “Fair enough. OK.”

Anyhoo, I went because the pull of being snarky about bad entertainment is just too strong.

First thing I noticed was the clientele. It was a sea of mom jeans with a smattering of long-suffering husbands. I have no idea what the argument may have been to get a husband to this movie but I would have liked to have been a fly on that wall. Or, of course, the husbands are gay. That would actually explain everything.

So, let’s start out with the good bits, shall we?

Hot. Naked. Young. Men. Well, most of them were. There was one Mickey Roarke look-alike (not 9 1/2 Weeks Mickey Roarke but The Wrestler Mickey Roarke) that I found disturbing and uncomfortable. And, I think whoever that actor was also felt disturbed and uncomfortable. The rest, however, were young, tight and exceptionally well-oiled.

I did, however, find myself thinking that I’d kill my kids if they ever did something like this. So, while I may not wear mom jeans on the outside, I clearly have some on inside my head.

Ummmm, I think that was it for the good bits.

OK, now for the bad bits.

It was dumb.  You could have muted this entire movie and known exactly what was happening and how it would end. In fact, bring your noise cancelling headphones, eat your Dots and just watch.

The story is as old as the bible. Gorgeous single guy with lots of chutzpah who just wants to make it in the world who has multiple sexual encounters with multiple women but really cares and has a heart of gold that gets him in trouble until a nice grounded girl comes along who believes in him and clearly doesn’t seem to care about the multiple venereal diseases that she has now exposed herself to.

Pretty sure that is exactly what happened in the book of Job.

Matthew McConaughey.  I know I am inviting the wrath of all women out there with this one. I can feel the collective stink eye right now. Go ahead, start putting your hate mail together, I am expecting it. But, he does nothing for me. And, in this movie, he was so ridiculous and such an asshole that I had a hard time watching him.

If you have other-worldly abs hanging off a douchebag, is it still hot? Probably but I feel compelled to ask the question.

Men gyrating and groin-thrusting at lightning speed. I know what it’s supposed to simulate and I don’t know that it would be all that pleasant. Slow it down, Sparky. I am not a construction site and you are not a jackhammer.

It’s impressive how they don’t appear to throw out their backs when doing this, I totally give them that. And, actually, (SPOILER ALERT!) my favorite part of the movie is when one of them actually does throw out their back.

But, men are not built for this kind of movement. They are stiff and utilitarian and that’s how they should be.

Call me old fashioned but I don’t want my men prancing about with jazz hands.

I’ve been to a male strip club before and I never got dry humped.  Should I take that personally? Maybe I’m just all sour grapes on this because I feel slighted. In this movie the women in the crowd were being whipped around like rag dolls, getting felt up and ground upon. My mind ping ponged between “Law suit! Law suit!” and “Purell! Purell!” the entire time.

There you have it, good citizens of the blogosphere. I can’t necessarily say you should not see it. I just feel it is my public duty to make you aware of what you are seeing….which is a whole lot of shiny, pretty men.

And there ain’t nuthin’ bad about that.

50 Shades of WTF (or, The Use of a Thesaurus While Masturbating in Public)

50 Shades of WTF (or, The Use of a Thesaurus While Masturbating in Public)

(I was told that the use of sexy words in a title would get more hits. Evidently, lots of people search on the word “thesaurus.” Who knew?)

Listen, I get it. No one is having enough sex. Especially no one I know. I’m sure George Clooney gets laid constantly. It must get boring for him. But I’m no George Clooney.  I suspect Betty White gets more action than I do. I suspect Betty White gets more tail than George Clooney does.

So, given the state of our sexless existence, I felt compelled to dip my toe into the mommy porn cesspit and read 50 Shades of Grey. What a fucking weird book this is. Oh, you could say it’s weird because of the numerous references to anal plugs and spanking. But I mean weird because its level of suckiness can’t possibly match up to its popularity….or the obscene amount of coin the author is raking in.

I have a laundry list of rants to go with this book that could fill dozens of blogs, so I will focus on my top two issues today.

Issue Number 1: The enervating, encumbered, oppressive and exaggerated used of the thesaurus by the writer.

Who the hell talks like this? Especially whilst having a butt plug thrust into a poop hole? “Why, Mr. Grey, what a hedonistic endeavor you are embarking on.”  SHUT UP!

The use of inappropriate SAT-level vocabulary is more disturbing than the handcuffs and nipple clamps in this piece of shit.

I dare you to use “thesaurus” words in a normal sentence in daily life without looking like a complete asshole.

For your consideration:

“Dude, that wave was epic. I will never expunge it from my memory!” See, total asshole.  He will not be invited to the clambake later.

“I can’t wait to dig into this steak with my cutlery.” It’s a knife, douchebag!

“I smoked so much weed this weekend, I was afraid I would somnambulate.” Shut up or I will stab you in the head.

“That inconsiderate misanthrope absconded with my parking space.”  I hate you and I don’t know what you just said, you fucking tool.

I think “Thesaurus” is now my safe word.

Issue Number 2: Don’t read this book in front of people!! You are freaking them out.

For the love of God, if you have the physical book, stick a brown paper bag around it or something. We all think you are either a horny old lady or have terrible sense in your choice of reading material. Both can’t be good for you. Please, you live in a shame-based society. Act accordingly.

And this rule doesn’t only apply to public places like buses and park benches. Do you think your 20-year-old son wants to know his mother (or aunt or gay uncle) is a horny freak show? That could do some serious damage and take years for the visuals to be “expunged” from his memory.

I believe we only fly our freak flag at full mast within the confines of our S&M rooms…or in blogs where consenting adults gather willingly.

What I’m most intrigued about is the writer. Who the hell is this woman and what kind of private life does she have? No offense, E.L. James (not her real name….I wouldn’t use my real name either) but you just don’t look the type. You look like every woman in sweats in line at Trader Joe’s or picking their kindergartener up.

So, you have now made me look twice at everyone I know and have compromised my ability to compartmentalize them into tidy boxes. For all I know, that woman in front of me at the coffee shop who looks like she has not showered in days and has stains on her shirt has a vibrator up her lady garden RIGHT NOW!

She does seem suspiciously chipper about her venti frappuccino….

 

A Word About Vampires

A Word About Vampires

When I was little, Barnabas Collins rocked my world. I would run home from Catholic school and gladly dive from the divine light of our savior, Jesus Christ, to the dark underworld of vampires.

It was my favorite half hour in the universe. Dark Shadows was this weird acid-trip of a gothic soap opera that featured the tormented Barnabas Collins, the tortured and impassioned vampire and a pioneer for the piecey bang look.  It was scary and romantic and probably the worst show on television.

There is a huge cult following to this day and I know there will be a mob of angry fanboys with torches on my front lawn any minute now….(not to overstate the obvious delusions I have that anyone outside my best friends and family actually read this blog).

But, truly, I defy you to follow the Escher-like maze of a storyline. There were actors playing multiple roles, timelines that jumped from present to past to parallel universes to living to dead and back again.

I was a 6-year-old Goth and a tip o’ the hat to my mother for supporting my addiction. I’m sure it molded my love of The Cure. Picture, if you will, Robert Smith in a Brownie uniform.

So, imagine my sunken-eyed delight when I heard that Tim Burton was making a movie of my beloved Collinwood. And, with the singular Johnny Depp as well. Be still my bloodless heart!

(I wonder if Johnny Depp just sits in front of his mirror saying “You, my man, are freakin’ amazing. Is there nothing you can’t do?” I know I would do exactly that if I were Johnny Depp. Aren’t you glad I’m not?)

Now, I haven’t seen the movie yet but I do have an innate distrust of taking my beloved 60’s and 70’s TV childhood and slapping lipstick and a push-up bra on it. We never let anything age gracefully, do we?

It certainly didn’t do the Beverly Hillbillies Movie any favors. What? You didn’t see it? Point made.

See, one of the best parts of Dark Shadows was how absurdly bad it was. I’m not sure they could really capture the art of a boom hitting an actor in the head, the craft services dude eating a donut just to the left of the grand staircase, or the fly that continually lands on Josette’s nose as she pleads with Barnabas. Even a child knew they were witnessing something terrible and brilliant all at the same time.

But, because the FLIPPIN’ AWESOME Johnny Depp is in it and the FREAKIN’ BRILLIANT Tim Burton is at the helm, I will give it a chance. They are the two-headed idiot savants of creativity so if they can’t pull it off, who can? Maybe no one. In which case, perhaps we should leave bad enough alone.

Screw You Hunger Games (or, Why I’m a Filthy Hypocrite)

Screw You Hunger Games (or, Why I’m a Filthy Hypocrite)

I think I’m better than pop culture and yet I have a Rain Man ability to absorb its useless content and even take pride in spewing it out at dinner parties like an annoying tic.

I don’t, as a rule, watch reality TV because I’ve had my fill of seeing people at their worst from years of hitting the Nordstrom half-yearly sale.

I don’t understand the whole Twilight thing so I tried reading a page of it and proceeded to throw it across the room. Then peed on it and started it on fire.

I never read any of the Harry Potters because, well, I’m not 10.

But, for some reason, I occasionally get sucked into the stinking maw of some show, book or movie that holds little or no redeeming value. I don’t even really like reading or watching this stuff, but I simply don’t have the strength to fight it. I know it’s bad for me but I’m a moth to the flame. I’m guessing it’s some sort of substitute for the drug, sex and alcohol abuse that I left behind years ago (strike that last one and get me a drink).

  • I did get sucked into American Idol, especially the first seasons (who am I kidding, I just started to ween off it last season). There, I said it. Spit on me, call me names. I’ve done the same to myself. The demise of that show has forced a modicum of dignity back into my life.
  • The Hunger Games. Fuck you, Katniss Everdeen and your sassy braid for making me wish I were a slave to an evil totalitarian society and that my parents had coughed up archery lessons (yet another misstep in my upbringing).
  • Now, I’ll drag my husband into the muck with me. When we had tiny, mewling, puking, premature twins, we got hooked on both Cheaters and The Anna Nicole Smith Show. I will blame this on program timing since they were on during a scheduled feeding and we had to space out on something. I will also say that nothing made our lives feel just a little less desperate than to watch others walk in front of the train. I am not a better person than that.
  • I used to watch Melrose Place….the original one because, yes, I’m old. Get over it. And I went to high school with Lisa Rinna (go Black Tornadoes).

My saving grace is Downton Abby….or is it? Isn’t it really just Dallas-on-the-Thames? You stick a bustle and an accent on it and suddenly its culture. Don’t forget, these are the same people who gave us Benny Hill.

So, I thank you, dear readers, for allowing me to go through the cultural equivalent of self-flagellation. I feel a little cleaner now as I watch the second Hunger Games book download to my iPad.

Glitterati in the Mist

Glitterati in the Mist

 

This story is the stuff of legend among my peers. They’ve heard it many times and I hate to repeat it but also feel it belongs in the annals of history as one of my more humiliating moments.

A friend of mine, who is clearly better connect than I am,  was able to get us into the Elton John post-Oscar party one year. Turns out there is also a party within a party for the select few who are closest to him. We actually had to be on TWO lists held by snotty people with clipboards.

I had not really been out of the house much over the two years or so before this event as I had been held hostage by small twin boys and had experienced something akin to Stockholm syndrome. So, my social skills were lacking unless you needed your diaper changed or some barf cleaned up. These skills had been perfected back in college and came in handy now that I had these two terrorists in my life.

When we arrived we had to walk the paparazzi plank past no less than 50 cameras with the longest lenses I’ve ever seen. Even with all the primping, exfoliating and waxing (twice) I did, not a flashbulb went off. In fact, the disappointment on their faces was just awkward. I’d be paying with ingrown hairs for weeks, you bastards.

We had to be very careful when roaming amongst these special colorful animals. We had to assume the somewhat bored vestige of our fellow partygoers. One spark of giddy recognition and we’d be left to wander the unfriendly night of West Hollywood. You must philosophically squat amongst them, mimicking their actions like Dian Fossey in an evening gown.

Once inside, I was introduced to Sir Elton and was very graciously hugged and kissed… on the mouth. This took me aback, as you may expect. I chalked it up to being gay and European. I find both do things with more panache.

Being surrounded by so many famous people is too much for the normal person to bear, let alone me. I was profoundly uncomfortable and did what any self-respecting human would do – I got good and liquored up. My blood alcohol level and 4-inch heels were a lethal combination. Keep in mind that most of these people are either on their way to rehab or have just gotten out so the sight of me swaying in the wind on my stilts may have made them a bit skittish.

Like all really great ideas when one is tanked, I decided I needed to let Sir know exactly how much I loved him when I was in Junior High and what Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy meant to me. I had been sitting on a low chair just a few feet from him and as I went to get up my dress got caught under one of my heels. This sent me tumbling directly toward Sir and, to break my fall I grabbed for the nearest thing, which happened to be his orange-colored head. A beefy hand caught me a mere centimeter before I would have tumbled fully into Sir’s lap. Sir squealed and gave me a look of such horror you’d think I was bathed in blood. He was promptly herded back to his pack by his wranglers.

Suddenly there was a buzz in the crowd. The herd began to get skittish again. I noticed a very small man in a very bright red suit. An alpha had just arrived. I can’t type his name, it was formerly one thing but now is a symbol that my computer keyboard cannot duplicate…though an elaborate calligraphy set might. He took up residence in a corner in classic defensive position so he could see his enemies approach.

Luckily, his entrance had taken any attention away from me and the intervention I’m sure they were all planning. So much for blending in and studying these creatures in their habitat. I found my colleagues and regrouped.

Now that my cover had been blown, we left and went back to the real world where I had an appropriately undignified end to the evening as I spent it on the soothingly cool tile floor of my friend’s bathroom.

OMG I’m on IMDb

OMG I’m on IMDb

Every now and then I feel compelled to do a Google search on myself. Mostly I want to see if there is another Irene Barnett out there with a more interesting life – there is a nephrologist in Los Angeles who looks to have a much better life than I do. (What the hell is a nephrologist anyway? I hope it doesn’t have anything to do with banging dead people.)

As it happens, the other day when I did this, I came up on IMDb as an “actress”. The first entry was a weird movie I worked on many many years ago with a crazed lunatic of a filmmaker. I bought his “workshop” and flew to Las Vegas with a bunch of other suckers to learn how to be a guerilla filmmaker in the likeness of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez. This experience really deserves its own post as I was literally stuck in the middle of Death Valley with a Mormon, a born-again Christian, a stoned sound guy and a crazy ballerina who looked like Gloria Swanson – all at a haunted hotel. I shit you not. If we all walked into a bar it would be a set up for a good joke.

The other entry was much more interesting – evidently I was “East End Girl #1” (that’s right, suck it East End Girl #2) in a TV mini-series called Shoulder to Shoulder in 1974. Evidently, this series dramatized the lives of the Pankhurst women and their role in the Suffragette Movement.  Yeah, I don’t know what any of that means either. Since I was pre-pubescent in 1974 and would most likely have remembered doing a TV mini-series. I wonder if that was the nephrologist working her way through med school.

Whoever played East End Girl #1 must be pissed that I’m getting her credit. But no more pissed than East End Girl #2 who, undoubtedly, had a life strife with disappointment and failure. While I, on the other hand, ride high on my fame and fortune. Suck it East End Girl #1.